e-book Expositions of Holy Scripture Ezekiel, Daniel, and the Minor Prophets. St Matthew Chapters I to VIII

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His name and fame grew. His ministry fell into a quiet routine for which he was always grateful: two sermons on Sunday, a Monday prayer meeting and a Thursday service and lecture. His parishioners thought his sermons to them were the best he ever preached. In April he was called to be minister at Union Chapel in Manchester. No ministry could have been happier. The church prospered and a new building had to be erected to seat 1,; every sitting was taken. His renown as preacher spread throughout the English-speaking world. His pulpit became his throne. He was twice elected President of the Baptist Union.

He resigned as pastor in after a ministry of 45 years. The Life of David. Expositions of Holy Scripture.

Luke, that many had taken in hand to write the life of Christ. He gives his view of the origin of the Gospels as follows:]. The first evangelist is Matthew, the publican, who was surnamed Levi. He published his Gospel in Judaea in the Hebrew language, chiefly for the sake of Jewish believers in Christ, who adhered in vain to the shadow of the law, although the substance of the Gospel had come. The second is Mark, the 1 amanuensis of the Apostle Peter, and first bishop of the Church of Alexandria. He did not himself see our Lord and Saviour, but he related the matter of his Master's preaching with more regard to minute detail than to historical sequence.

Minor Prophets: Amos - Ancient Message for a Modern World

The third is Luke, the physician, by birth a native of Antioch, in Syria, whose praise is in the Gospel. He was himself a disciple of the Apostle Paul, and composed his book in Achaia and Bceotia. He thoroughly investigates certain particulars and, as he himself confesses in the preface, describes what he had heard rather than what he had seen. The last is John, the Apostle and Evangelist, whom Jesus loved most, who, reclining on the Lord's bosom, drank the purest streams of doctrine, and was the only one thought worthy of the words from the cross, " Behold thy mother.

St. Jerome's Prefaces 3

Ecclesiastical history relates that, when he was urged by the brethren to write, he replied that he would do so if a general fast were proclaimed and all would offer up prayer to God; and when the fast was over, the narrative goes on to say, being filled with revelation, he burst into the heaven-sent Preface: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God: this was in the beginning with God.

He then describes the works of his predecessors: Origen with his twenty-five volumes, Theophilus of Antioch, Hippolytus the martyr, Theodorus of Heraclea, Apollinaris of Laodicaea, Didymus of Alexandria, and of the Latins, Hilary, Victorinus, and Fortunatianus; from these last, he says, he had gained but little.

He continues as follows:]. But you urge me to finish the composition in a fortnight, when Easter is now rapidly approaching, and the spring breezes are blowing; you do not consider when the shorthand writers are to take notes, when the sheets are to be written, when corrected, how long it takes to make a really accurate copy; and this is the more surprising, since you know that for the last three months I have been so ill that I am now hardly beginning to walk; and I could not adequately perform so great a task in so short a time.

Therefore, neglecting the authority of ancient writers, since I have no opportunity of reading or following them, I have confined myself to the brief exposition and translation of the narrative which you particularly requested; and I have sometimes thrown in a few of the flowers of the 1 spiritual interpretation, while I reserve the perfect work for a future day. A few days ago you told me that you had read some commentaries on Matthew and Luke, of which one was equally dull in perception and expression, the other frivolous in expression, sleepy in sense.

Accordingly you requested me to translate, without regarding such rubbish, our Adamantius' thirty-nine "homilies " on Luke, just as they are found in the original Greek; I replied that it was an irksome task and a mental torment to write, as Cicero phrases it, with another man's heart 2 not one's own; but yet I will undertake it, as your requests reach no higher than this. The demand which the sainted Blesilla once made, at Rome, that I should translate into our language his twenty-five volumes on Matthew, five on Luke, and thirty-two on John is beyond my powers, my leisure, and my energy.

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You see what weight your influence and wishes have with me. I have laid aside for a time my books on Hebrew Questions because you think my labour will not be in vain, and turn to the translation of these commentaries, which, good or bad, are his work and not mine. I do this all the more readily because I hear on the left of me the raven--that ominous bird--croaking and mocking in an extraordinary way at the colours of all the other birds, though he himself is nothing if not a bird of gloom.

And so, before he change his note, I confess that in these treatises Origen is like a boy amusing himself with the dice-box; there is a wide difference between his mature efforts and the serious studies of his old age. If my proposal meet with your approbation, if I am still able to undertake the task, and if the Lord grant me opportunity to translate them into Latin after completing the work I have now deferred, you will then be able to see--aye, and all who speak Latin will learn through you--how much good they knew not, and how much they have now begun to know.

Besides this, I have arranged to send you shortly the Commentaries of Hilary, that master of eloquence, and of the blessed martyr Victorinus, on the Gospel of Matthew. Their style is different, but the grace of the Spirit which wrought in them is one. These will give you some idea of the study which our Latins also have, in former days, bestowed upon the Holy Scriptures. The Preface to this book begins with a striking description of the noble Roman lady Albina, which is as follows:].

Only a few days have elapsed since, having finished my exposition of the Epistle of Paul to Philemon, I had passed to Galatians, turning my course backwards and passing over many intervening subjects. But all at once letters unexpectedly arrived from Rome with the news that the venerable Albina has been recalled to the presence of the Lord, and that the saintly Marcella, bereft of the company of her mother, demands more than ever such solace as you can give, my dear Paula and Eustochium. This for the present is impossible on account of the great distance to be traversed by sea and land, and I could, therefore, wish to apply to the wound so suddenly inflicted at least the healing virtue of Scripture.

I know full well her zeal and faith; I know how brightly the fire burns in her bosom, how she rises superior to her sex, and soars so far above human nature itself, that she crosses the Red Sea of this world, sounding the loud timbrel of the inspired volumes. Certainly, when I was at Rome, she never saw me for ever so short a time without putting some question to me respecting the Scriptures, and she did not, like the Pythagoreans, accept the " Ipse dixit " of her teacher, nor did authority, unsupported by the verdict of reason, influence her; but she tested all things, and weighed the whole matter so sagaciously that I perceived I had not a disciple so much as a judge.

And so, believing that my labours would be most acceptable to her who is at a distance, and profitable for you who are with me here, I will approach a work unattempted by any writers in our language before me, and which scarcely any of the Greeks themselves have handled in a manner worthy of the dignity of the subject.

Paul, but "was busily engaged with secular literature and knew nothing of the Scriptures," and of the great Greek writers, Origen, 1 Didymus, and 2 Appolinaris, Eusebius of Emesa, and Theodorus of Heraclea, and says he has plucked flowers out of their gardens, so that the Commentary is more theirs than his. The expository part of the Preface is chiefly remarkable as giving the view of St. Paul's rebuke of St. Peter in Galatians ii. Jerome says:]. Paul does not go straight to the point, but is like a man walking in secret passages: his object is to exhibit Peter as doing what was expedient for the people of the circumcision committed to him, since, if a too sudden revolt took place from their ancient mode of life, they might be offended and not believe in the Cross; he wished, moreover, to show, inasmuch as the evangelisation of the Gentiles had been entrusted to himself, that he had justice on his side in defending as true that which another only pretended was a dispensation.

That wretch Porphyry 3 Bataneotes by no means understood this, and, therefore, in the first book of the work which he wrote against us, he raised the objection that Peter was rebuked by Paul for not walking uprightly as an evangelical teacher. His desire was to brand the former with error and the latter with impudence, and to bring against us as a body the charge of erroneous notions and false doctrine, on the ground that the leaders of the Churches are at variance among themselves.

Stolen Child

Jerome describes the origin of the Galatians as a Gaulish tribe settled in Asia, but he takes them as slow of understanding, and says that the Gauls still preserve this character, just as the Roman Church preserves the character for which it was praised by St. Paul, for it still has crowds frequenting its churches and the tombs of its martyrs, and " nowhere else does the Amen resound so loudly, like spiritual thunder, and shake the temples of the idols"; and similarly the traits of the churches of Corinth and Thessalonica are still preserved; in the first, the looseness of behaviour and of doctrine, and the conceit of worldly knowledge, in the second, the love of the brethren side by side with the disorderly conduct of busybodies.

And he speaks of the condition of Galatia in his own day as follows:].

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Any one who has seen by how many schisms Ancyra, the metropolis of Galatia, is rent and torn, and by how many differences and false doctrines the place is debauched, knows this as well as I do. I say nothing of 4 Cataphrygians, 1 Ophites, Borborites, and Manichaeans; for these are familiar names of human woe. Who ever heard of Passaloryncitae, and 2 Ascodrobi, and 3 Artotyritae, and other portents--I can hardly call them names--in any part of the Roman Empire? The traces of the ancient foolishness remain to this day.

One remark I must make, and so fulfil the promise with which I started. While the Galatians, in common with the whole East, speak Greek, their own language is almost identical with that of the 4 Treviri; and if through contact with the Greek they have acquired a few corruptions, it is a matter of no moment.

The Africans have to some extent changed the Phenician language, and Latin itself is daily undergoing changes through differences of place and time. We are now busily occupied with our third book on Galatians, and, my friends, Paula and Eustochium, we are well aware of our weakness, and are conscious that our slender ability flows in but a small stream and makes little roar and rattle.

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For these are the qualities to such a pass have we come which are now expected even in the Churches; the simplicity and purity of apostolic language is neglected; we meet as if we were in the 5 Athenaeum, or the lecture rooms, to kindle the applause of the bystanders; what is now required is a discourse painted and tricked out with spurious rhetorical skill, and which, like a strumpet in the streets, does not aim at instructing the public, but at winning their favour; like a psaltery or a sweet-sounding lute, it must soothe the ears of the audience; and the passage of the prophet Ezekiel is suitable for our times, where the Lord says to him, "Thou art become unto them as the sound of a pleasant lute which is well made, for they hear thy words but do them not.

How far I have profited by my unflagging study of Hebrew I leave to others to decide; what I have lost in my own language, I can tell In addition to this, on account of the weakness of my eyes and bodily infirmity generally,, I do not write with my own hand; and I cannot make up for my slowness of utterance by greater pains and diligence, as is said to have been the case with Virgil, of whom it is related that he treated his books as a bear treats her cubs, and licked them into shape.

I must summon a secretary, and either say whatever comes uppermost; or, if I wish to think a little and hope to produce something superior, my helper silently reproves me, clenches his fist, wrinkles his brow, and plainly declares by his whole bearing that he has come for nothing. How few there are who now read Aristotle. How many are there who know the books, or even the name of Plato? You may find here and there a few old men, who have nothing else to do, who study them in a corner. And so their simple words--must be set forth with simplicity of style; for the word simple applies to their words, not their meaning.

But if, in response to your prayers, I could, in expounding their epistles, have the same spirit which they had--when they dictated them, you would then see in the Apostles as much majesty and breadth of true wisdom as there is arrogance and vanity in the learned men of the world. To make a brief confession of the secrets of my heart, I should not like any one who wished to understand the Apostle to find a difficulty in understanding my writings, and so be compelled to find some one to interpret the interpreter.

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It was written immediately after that on the Epistle to the Galatians, in A. In the Preface to Book i. Jerome defends himself against various accusations. He declares that he has been, in the main, his own instructor, but yet that he has constantly consulted others as to Scriptural difficulties, and that he had, not long before, been to Alexandria to consult Didymus. Apollinaris and Didymus also published some commentaries, and.

The studious reader will, therefore, understand at the outset that this work is partly my own, and that I am in part indebted to others. The Preface to Books ii. It speaks in praise of Marcella, who had invited him to his task, and declares that he in his monastery could not accomplish as much as that noble woman amidst the cares of her household. In revealing the mysteries of Scripture I use almost the language of the street, and sometimes get through a thousand lines a day, in order that the explanation of the Apostle which I have begun may be completed with the aid of the prayers of Paul himself, whose Epistles I am endeavouring to explain.

The Preface is a defence of the genuineness of the Epistle against those who thought its subject beneath the dignity of inspiration. To suppose that common life is separate from God is Manichaeanism. Jerome mentions that Marcion, who altered many of the Epistles, did not touch that to Philemon; and brevity in a document which has in it so much of the beauty of the Gospel is a mark of its inspiration. The Preface speaks of the rejection of the Epistle by Marcion and Basilides, its acceptance by Tatius, but without assigning reasons.

It ought, Jerome says, to be of special interest to Paula and Eustochium, as being written from Nicopolis, near Actium, where their property lay. It was written in the years , and addressed to Eustochium alone, her mother Paula having died in The Preface to Book i.

I hose to the following books mostly give a short statement of the contents of the chapters commented on, and entreat the players of Eustocbium for the work. The Fifth Book or chapters xiii. The Preface to Book x.